Chances are, if you're like most small business owners and marketers, you're interested in what you can do to boost your website's search engine visibility. However, you know that old adage about teaching a man to fish? Well, there are a lot of articles with tips and tricks for search engine optimization, but if you really want to learn to do it well, the best thing you can do is learn how it actually works. Then you'll really start seeing ways you can improve your website's ranking.
Here are the three major things that Google's algorithm considers when searching for websites to display in its results:
How long have you been around?
The more technical way to put this is the length the domain name has been registered and active. What do we mean by that? Well, if you registered www.yourbusiness.com and have kept it active for several years, regardless of what kind of content you have on it, that'll do you some good. Of course, Google also takes into account when it was last updated, but it makes sense that search engines would give priority to websites that have been around the longest.
How popular are you?
You might be shocked to hear that the number of visits your website is getting doesn't factor into your website ranking much at all. Instead, Google is more concerned with how many websites, and the reputation of those websites, are linking back to your website. These are called inbound links and Google uses them to evaluate the reputation of your website. Inbound links are simply links on third-party websites that point to your website. For example, if you're featured in a news article, and they link to your website, that's an inbound link.
Before you ask, yes, Facebook is a third-party site! All social media platforms are, in fact. That means that when you share your blog posts on social media, or add your website's URL to the description of a YouTube video, you're creating an inbound link and boosting your SEO. Make sure to always host the content you create on your blog first, then link from social media, as the more people who click on these inbound links to get to the content that's ON your website, the better.
How often do you create great content?
The biggest favor you can do for yourself, with regards to search engine optimization, is to post frequent, relevant, high-quality content to a blog on your website. And the reason is quite simple: Google has repeatedly been clear that this is the most important thing their algorithm considers. Of the three things we're discussing here, this is the big one.
On page content is good, especially if you have the right page titles, page descriptions, and headings, so Google knows what it's looking at, but blog content is what will make the difference. With blog content, you have the ability to create keyword-optimized content that's not only relevant to your business, but valuable to your customers, who are not-so-coincidentally Google's customers.
See Also: Modern Website Design is Great, But Websites With Blog Content Are Better
In the past, sleazy SEO companies would create keyword-stuffed pages on your website to try and trick Google into thinking your website had more to offer than it really did. Today, Google knows all those tricks, and wants to see you offering your expertise by way of a blog that isn't keyword stuffed, is updated regularly (think 2-3 a week for maximum exposure), and is being frequented by your audience.
With these things in mind, you should have a good idea of what you can do to boost your website's search engine optimization. There are some things that are quick and easy, but Google tends to reward those who work for their ranking and penalize those that don't.
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